Japanese Stock Indexes See Large Turnover

December 01, 2008

State Street Global Advisors' SDPRs offer the only two Japanese equity ETFs based on this index series.



The annual rebalancing of the Russell/Nomura Japanese stock indexes just concluded, resulting in more than 30% turnover rates for value and growth components of the benchmarking family.

The Russell/Nomura Total Value Index had 212 deletions and 176 additions, while the Russell/Nomura Total Growth Index had 270 deletions and 136 additions.

Those changes represented capitalization turnover ratios of 30.9% for value, and 33.3% for growth, among the highest-ever index rebalancing for the Russell Investments and Nomura Securities' Japanese equity benchmarks since their launch in 1981.

There are Japanese stock exchange-traded funds from Barclays Global Investors' iShares family, Northern Trust's NETS and from WisdomTree Investments.

However, State Street Global Advisors' SDPRs offers the only two Japanese equity ETFs based on this index series: the SPDR Russell/Nomura PRIME Japan ETF (NYSE Arca: JPP) and the Russell/Nomura Small Cap Japan ETF (NYSE Arca: JSC).

JPP and JSC are relatively small ETFs in terms of assets. JSC had close to $73 million in assets through last month while JPP had only $13.5 million.

Among all single-country international ETFs this year, those focused on Japan have held up relatively well in terms of performance. JPP was down 32.15% heading into Monday, while JSC had dropped 23.99% so far in 2008, according to Morningstar data.

That may not seem like impressive performance on the surface, but consider that the broad-based iShares MSCI EAFE Index (NYSE: EFA) for developed international markets has slid more than 45% this year.

The Russell/Nomura Prime Index, which is JPP's index, measures the performance of Japan's top 1,000 float-adjusted stocks. This year, 26 companies came into the Prime Index for the first time and its total market capitalization decreased from 201 trillion yen to 200 trillion yen (as of Oct. 15).

The turnover ratio of the index was 1.6%, which is relatively low compared to previous years, the companies said in a statement.

The number of stocks in the Russell/Nomura Small Cap Index, JSC's underlying index, dropped by 76 companies to 1,100. The small-cap index represents the top 85% and bottom 15% of the Russell/Nomura Japan Equity Index, on a market capitalization basis.

The decrease in JSC's index reflected the larger decline in the capitalization of small-cap companies relative to the overall market decrease.


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